I absolutely love peppers and luckily for me, I was born in a country known for its peppers and paprika. The Szegedi paprika is a paprika that is known all over the world. It is a staple in Hungarian cooking, and my kitchen, and can be both sweet and spicy. I grew up smelling the aroma of the paprika in both my mother and grandmother’s kitchen in the city and the country home. The smell of paprika transforms me back to my childhood and reminds me of all the good times I had with my family.
During the end of the summers and the beginning of fall, the paprika harvest would take place and I would get to participate in picking the paprika from the garden at the country house. We would eat the paprika raw on sandwiches and/or cook them in stews. My grandmother would also dry the paprika out and grind it down to a powder that we could cook with all year round. She would tell me that the secret to a man’s heart is through good cooking, but only with some great paprika. Whether that is true or not, not only does the paprika add a depth to any cuisine but the paprika is filled with essential vitamins and minerals.
My mood, and the cuisine I am cooking, will determine whether I cook with a spicy or sweet pepper. Both are great and both offer health benefits. Some of these benefits include:
- Vitamin C – an antioxidant, which is important for healing and boosting the immune system.
- Vitamin B6 – aids in metabolism.
- Vitamin K1 – promotes healthy kidney function, bones and is essential for blood clotting.
- Vitamin A – found in red peppers, helps bone growth and good vision
- Capsaicin – increase metabolism, fights inflammation, and reduces cholesterol.
The next time you want to add a little extra flavor and a dash of health, add some paprika to your favorite meal.